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Does The Third World Exist? Essay

1838 words - 8 pages

What do we mean by the term 'Third World'? It can be considered to be a name for a certain type of coherency and homogeneity among a group of people in the world. So, to rephrase the question, does there exist between the general regions that Third World is to encompass, namely Africa, Latin America and Asia, a unity and sameness? Also, what distinguishes them from the rest of the world? This leads on to ask of the nature of these supposed similarities so that it can be ascertained whether they are a reality today. There are various possible determining categories in which to view Third World coherency such as the economics, geography, history, politics and psychology of the region. This ...view middle of the document...

"This formal non-aligned and neutralist movement began after The Bandung conference in 1955 organised by Indonesia, India, Burma, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka bringing together 29 countries in solidarity to gain political influence. However this was also underpinned with shared anti-imperialistic feelings, and fights for independence of colonial rule. After the end of the Cold War, the non-aligned motive for solidarity declined and as John Toye argues in his book 'Dilemmas of Development,' decolonisation was the real driving force for any unity that existed. He said, "The psychology of Third Worldism is the psychology of decolonization." Peter Worsley also explains where original grouping lay;The coherence of such a group was necessarily dependent on the presence of a common enemy. It was a negative unity: politically, against colonialism; in economic terms, a solidarity between the 'proletarian nations' in opposition to the developed ones.Theorists of the counter-revolutionary school of the 1980's such as Bauer, have viewed the Third World and therefore the instituting of 'development' as having been created psychologically out of guilt for colonisation and out of the fact that all these regions receive foreign aid. They argued then that since in their view, the West was not responsible for the situation, and that the aid did not actually help, it was all a figment of the imagination and so the Third World could not really exist. Conversely, Toye perceptively believed that this is not true since, just because it is a creation of the mind, it does not mean we can just let it go; you only have to look at all the conflicts that exist, the people's need to be part of a strong and larger entity to see "(the Third World) is the result of... our inability in our present difficult circumstances yet to see ourselves as belonging to one world, and not three."The Third World can be seen to generally exist, then, in this psychological and so political sense.A Common History?Is there an 'objective' Third World? Can Africa, Latin America, and Asia be grouped together through real history? The colonisation of the Americas by the Spanish Empire lasted from 1492 to the declaration of independence in 1824/25 and the Haitian revolution against France took place from 1817-18 through to the 19th century. But North Africa only became a French colony from the 1830's onwards and the 'Scramble for Africa' took place in the last two decades of the 19th century, with independence throughout the middle of the 20th century. In South Asia the 1857 Indian mutiny introduced the formal British colonial rule which lasted until 1947. The Dutch empire was in control of Indonesia from the 17th century also up to the 1940's. Ethiopia and Liberia were the only European recognised independent states. So, whereas the dates of colonisation in the different regions revealed not much of a common history, with there being a colonisation of Africa post-dating the decolonisation of Latin America...

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